New City of Chelsea Zoning Ordinance

Effective June 16, 2021



The City of Chelsea’s new Zoning Ordinance will be effective on June 16, 2021.  The new Ordinance is the result of a year-long endeavor to incorporate the best practices in zoning and create new housing and development opportunities in the City of Chelsea. City stakeholders, including the City Council, Planning Commission, and Chelsea residents, workforce, business owners, and developers, collaborated during the entire process, which was facilitated by the City of Chelsea Planning and Zoning Department and the City’s contracted planning firm, Mckenna. These efforts culminated in the final adoption of the Zoning Ordinance on May 17, 2021. The Zoning Ordinance and Zoning Map are consistent with the policy vision established in the City of Chelsea’s 2019 Master Plan.

The new Ordinance provides many new opportunities for residents, developers, and businesses. Some of the more impactful changes in the new Ordinance include:

  • The implementation of a new form-based code to provide development standards with greater consideration for the form of the building and how it interacts with the public realm
  • The addition of Detached Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) or the permissible use of accessory structures as dwelling units, to create new housing options and increase density
  • New provisions to support Economy-Efficient Dwellings (EEDs),  known to many as “tiny homes,” to provide another creative housing option that meets modern day needs
  • New standards for cluster developments to grant a density bonus for developments that preserve open space

The City of Chelsea Department of Planning and Zoning will provide assistance to residents navigating these recent updates. Please contact Julia Upfal, Community Development Director, at or (734) 475-1771 ext. 210 with any questions.